“Miss Patti Page, The Sweetheart of the Stadium”, 1950

I recently found this picture in an unexpected place and instantly fell in love with those spectacular hats. (And don’t even get me started on the boots!)


I wondered about two things: the girls in the hats, who don’t appear to be in Rice-related outfits, and the woman in the middle, the only one out of uniform altogether. On closer inspection I concluded that it must be the popular singer Patti Page, who appeared at the first game in the new stadium in the fall of 1950. This Thresher story, I believe, explains what we’re looking at in the photo. Click to zoom in:

Patti Page was performing down the street at the Shamrock Hotel (hence, I suppose, the Shamrock Photographs Services label on the bottom of the photo) and seems to have been an active participant in all the events surrounding the opening of the stadium.  She even gave a pep talk at the rally the night before! (I’d have loved to have heard that.) The girls in the smashing outfits were the Apache Belles from Tyler Junior College who were also in town to lend some glamour to the opening day festivities.

UPDATE: A couple of astute commenters correctly pointed out that there’s some Rice insignia on the uniforms of the majorettes so they aren’t Apache Belles at all but our own coeds. The Rice History Corner regrets, but is not especially surprised by, the error. Thanks guys!

We have another very different but just as fabulous image of her elsewhere in our collection. This was taken at the big parade downtown before the game:



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12 Responses to “Miss Patti Page, The Sweetheart of the Stadium”, 1950

  1. The story on campus parking rules is also an amusing read.

    • Melissa Kean says:

      I thought the whole page was interesting so I didn’t bother to scan just the parts about the stadium opening. I was sad to see the death of Harry Weiser and wanted to include it.

  2. Gary Chiles says:

    I’m not sure I agree with your assessment of the four girls in uniform surrounding Patti Page. If you zoom in, you can see that their uniforms have the Rice shield on the shoulder patch, and their hats have the word “RICE” over what appears to be the U.S. Presidential seal. I guess they could be Apache Bells wearing special uniforms for the Rice stadium opening, but I think they may be Rice girls in uniforms created for the event.

  3. John Wolda says:

    The male cheerleader is Teddy Montz

  4. Steve Lukingbeal, Hanszen 76 says:

    How cool to capture Patti Page in 1950. That was before her career peaked. It would be like having Elvis in early 1956.

  5. Bob Reinhold says:

    Patti Page forgot the words to the National Anthem and asked the audience to join in.

  6. Nancy Eubank says:

    As President of the Rice Student Association, Tom Eubank (’51) escorted Patti Page onto the new stadium field where he welcomed the crowd and introduced Miss Page to sing the National Anthem.  Miss Page started singing and the acoustics were such that her voice echoed back at her, causing Miss Page to hear every word she sang multiple times.  She burst into tears.  Luckily, Tom had a handkerchief which he handed to Miss Page.  Tom recalls that he was disconcerted as well at the sound of his words that seemed to return to him three times.  He thinks the sound was coming from multiple speakers at different times with a new, probably untested speaker system.  Nancy Moore Eubank ’55

    From: Rice History Corner To: neubank@sbcglobal.net Sent: Monday, May 21, 2018 4:55 PM Subject: [New post] “Miss Patti Page, The Sweetheart of the Stadium”, 1950 #yiv0811268223 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv0811268223 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv0811268223 a.yiv0811268223primaryactionlink:link, #yiv0811268223 a.yiv0811268223primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv0811268223 a.yiv0811268223primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv0811268223 a.yiv0811268223primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv0811268223 WordPress.com | Melissa Kean posted: “I recently found this picture in an unexpected place and instantly fell in love with those spectacular hats. (And don’t even get me started on the boots!) I wondered about two things: the girls in the hats, who don’t appear to be in Rice-” | |

  7. Timothy Eric Akers says:

    I have the 8mm film from Patti’s time there! The incident of her forgetting the words never ever left her. She told us that story over and over and was and remained until her death the most embarrassing moment of her life! Sitting in the front seat, with his hand up in the car picture was Jack Rael, the guy who discovered her and was her partner and manager for 50 years! Thanks for including Patti Page on this great trip down memory lane!

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